China beat Kazakhstan 13-8 to take a five-point lead in the two-legged play-off doubling up as a Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 qualifier.
As hosts of the play-off China got off to the perfect start with the 13-8 lead, despite trailing 5-3 at the end of the first-half at the Jiujiang Sports Centre.
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Lock Aruzhan Kariyeva gave Kazakhstan the lead with a try in the 29th minute before fly-half Ming Chen put China on the score sheet with a penalty.
It was an error strewn performance from Kazakhstan versus a pioneering one from China and with the visitors down to 14 players for 20 minutes of the second-half, the hosts capitalised with two tries including one from replacement Xiao Dan Ma.
Kazakhstan’s full-back Aigerym Daurmnayeva scored a penalty in the second forty but China’s pressure continued and they now take confidence into Saturday’s second leg thanks to a late try courtesy of wing Wei Yan Wang
Having won the recent Asia Rugby Women’s Championship Division I title China are now facing Kazakhstan in the play-off to determine who will qualify for the 2020 Asia Rugby Women’s Championship.
Alongside Japan and Hong Kong the winner of that tournament will guarantee a place at the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand